In 2008, Jay Pennington and Delaney Martin co-founded New Orleans Airlift, an organization whose mission, at least initially, was to find new audiences for musicians and artists whose lives and livelihoods had been upended by Hurricane Katrina. This inspired many ideas, one of which was to make buildings into musical instruments or kinetic sculptures.
Following numerous earlier iterations, Airlift’s latest Music Box Village opened last year. A collaboration of over 80 practicing artists – musicians, kinetic sound artists and sculptors – the village now has a permanent home on the site of an old steel manufacturing yard in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans.
The village is like a shanty town of structures built largely from salvaged materials. Music is created by the buildings themselves, by the wind and by interaction with people who might hit, open, pull, speak into, walk on and generally play these architectural instruments. You can watch people play this house in the video below!
Music is great for the brain, especially playing it. So if you’re in New Orleans, go a bit further – play a village! (See the latest NoLa offering that you can invest in – if you’re over 18 – on Small Change: an artist/worker-run and owned bed and breakfast in the Lower Garden District.)